Lawsuits of mass destruction

Diann H. Rogers is the executive director of the Sacramento-based Central California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Lawsuit abuse has come to Sacramento; restaurants, auto-repair shops and small businesses throughout the region find themselves victims of abuses of the California Business & Professions Code, section 17-200. Businesses cited for a small infraction of state law, even if there is no victim, meaning no one is “injured,” and no plaintiffs, are harassed by threats of lawsuits and are subject to extortion by some plaintiff lawyers.

Now that the press has started to cover this issue, politicians are promising justice and tripping over themselves to hold public hearings and decry the tactics. Even the trial association publicly admits abuses occur.

It looks like common sense has lined up to take action, so here’s a suggestion to the politicians: Change the law. Punish the evildoers, the lawyers using the system for profit, not justice. Say “no” to the money pouring into campaign coffers from lawyers seeking to exploit the system.

Lawsuit abuse affects everyone. Personal-injury attorneys/profiteers don’t just go after the “deep pockets” of McDonald’s. They use the lawsuit of “mass destruction”—the class-action suit—on small businesses, as well. Although lawyers might seek to hit the jackpot with a company the size of McDonald’s, they are just as happy picking up $1,500 to $2,500 when it only requires form letters and threats of enormous legal fees.

We must realize that the abuse heaped upon large companies is just one step away from these vultures landing at the door of your nail salon, auto-repair shop or restaurant. Money is money. You make it; they want it. So, the next time you read an article about a class-action or any frivolous lawsuit against a company and think, “That’s their problem, not mine,” think again.

There’s an axis of greed in California; certain types of lawyers twist good laws into a means of financial extortion. The money funds political campaigns to ensure lawmakers steer clear of true tort reform.

It takes courage and vigilance to fight these vultures of profit. It’s something our organization does every single day. We applaud small businesses for standing up and uniting. And we offer this advice: Don’t be fooled by rhetoric. Politicians allowed this system to get where it is today. Don’t settle for their hollow promises.